tv The Ed Show MSNBC December 27, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
iran. yes, we have to. and i'm no hawk. and we have to do something about immigration. we need to do what any country in the world has to do, decide who comes into the country. decide the terms of their staying. we need to do it in an american progressive way. but we have to do it. right now our approach to immigration is a joke. we exploit people economically. we exploit the issue for political purposes. we don't get people dignity. and we need to do that most of all. and we've got to do something about the rising percentage of our national economy that's being taken up by the cost of our unfunded government programs. we need to find a way to contain the rising cost of health care because that is the number one cause of our fiscal and debt problem and it's not going away. so it looks like 2013's going to be real. it's going to deal with issues of peace and war, issues of national identity, issues of personal security, especially for our young. think it's not at your peril. say it and you're part of the problem. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. we have a happy and safe new year out there. "the ed show" with ed schultz starts right now.
good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show." i'm michael eric dyson, in for ed schultz. breaking news from washington tonight. nbc news has confirmed that the president will host a meeting with all four congressional leaders at the white house tomorrow. this could be their last chance to get something done before we go over the cliff. this is "the ed show." and as ed would say, let's get to work. >> the american people are waiting for the ball to drop. but it's not going to be a good drop. >> senator reid says we are going over the cliff. the market drops. then house republicans announce they will return to washington. congressman charlie rangel and richard wolff will sort out the late-breaking news. the l.a. gun buyback say major success, but is it enough to stem the explosion of gun sales in the wake of newtown? >> i've seen huge uptick in business. our a.r.s have been sold out because people are very concerned about them becoming banned. >> los angeles mayor antonio
villaraigosa joins me live. plus the louie gohmert plan to arm teachers is going forward in ohio and utah. >> i wish to god she had had an m-4 in her office. >> michelle obama gets definitive on a future run for office. and tonight, i will deliver my verdict on spike lee versus "django unchained." >> what's your name? >> django. with little more than four days until the fiscal cliff, we now know that all the relevant parties will be in washington in three days. that's right. three days from now. on sunday evening before the redskins beat the cowboys. the house will finally reconvene. why? is it to finally strike a deal? honestly, no one knows. but one thing is certain. house speaker john boehner and his fellow republicans could no longer weather the incredibly bad optics of sitting at home while the president of the united states and the senate were in washington. president obama arrived back at the white house this morning.
the president will host a meeting tomorrow afternoon with senate majority leader reid, senate minority leader mcconnell, speaker boehner, and leader pelosi at the white house. senate majority leader harry reid took to the senate floor this morning to, shall we say, let boehner have it. >> if we go over the cliff, and it looks like that's where we're headed, mr. president, the house of representatives as we speak, with four days left after today before the first of the year aren't here with the speaker having told them they'll have -- they'll give them 48 hours' notice. the american people i don't think understand the house of representatives is operating without the house of representatives. it's being operated with a dictatorship of the speaker, not allowing the vast majority of the house of representatives to get what they want. >> lo and behold, the markets started to tank, in part on fears of reid's warning that it looked like we were going over the cliff. within an hour word came that
the house would return to washington and be in session on sunday at 6:30 p.m. boehner repeated his assertion that the senate would pass the two bills that the house has already acted on and included an extension of all the bush tax cuts, something that has zero chance of passing the senate. meanwhile, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell knocked heads with reid but also sounded amenable to some kind of deal. >> the so-called senate bill that the majority leader keeps referring to passed with only democratic votes. last night i told the president it would be happy to look at whatever he proposes but the truth is we're coming up against a hard deadline here and as i said, this is a conversation we should have had months ago. hopefully, there's still time for an agreement of some kind that saves the taxpayers from a wholly, wholly preventable economic crisis. >> but is it just more political posturing?
senate majority leader reid returned to the floor to encourage speaker boehner to take the deal president obama offered before boehner tried to pass his disastrous plan b. >> again, the speaker can't take yes for an answer. the president has presented him something that would prevent us from going over the cliff. it was in response to something the speaker gave to the president himself. but again, i guess with the dysfunctional republican caucus in the house, even the speaker can't tell what they're going to do because he backed off even his own proposal. >> i know i need one, so here's one for you. here's a friendly user's guide on who has offered real solutions to each of the fiscal cliff issues. on taxes president obama's offer compromise, agreeing to $400,000 as the new cutoff point. speaker boehner tried to sell a million as the dividing line but couldn't get it past his own party. president obama is therefore offering his original position, $250,000 and below.
on spending cuts president obama proposed $1.2 trillion, about equal to what he was asking in revenue. boehner passed draconian spending cuts in the house with no revenue component. on extended unemployment insurance, another check for the president. nada for boehner. on the debt limit president obama proposed a structure similar to what republican leader mitch mcconnell proposed last year. boehner wants to hold the nation's full faith and credit hostage once again to attain even more spending cuts. president obama even threw in an added incentive for republicans, by agreeing to a change in the way social security increases are calculated. no such olive branch was ever extended by republicans. get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think. tonight's question, is john boehner's move to reconvene the house a face-saving political move or a genuine effort to reach a deal? text a for political. text b for genuine effort. to 622639.
or go to our blog at.msnbc.com. i'll bring you the results later in the show. joining me now is legendary congressman charlie rangel of new york. congressman, welcome to the show. >> thank you, doctor. >> speaker boehner is finally reconvening the house. but is this just so much posturing? is there anything substantive that can get done? >> something could happen. but you realize that some of the people that he can't get support of have already been defeated and refuse to accept it. there are a lot of republicans in the house of representatives that wanted obama beaten, and they cannot believe that some of them got beaten. obama really has tried, and he's shaking up his base a little bit by reaching out to these people. but the truth of the matter is that i don't see how speaker boehner could stay in ohio with the senate in washington, the president in washington, and he's given us 48 hours' notice. now we have it. i just hope that he has the
courage to say he's going to lose some of his people and do what's good for the country and not for his politics. >> well, you mentioned him shaking up the base, that is, president obama a bit. he seems to be more willing to be self-critical and to shake up his own affiliations and alliances than do the republicans. but do you fear that he may go too far? are democrats fearful that the president will compromise too much, or do you think he should really take advantage of the bully pulpit that was given him with re-election? >> well, we really felt a little embarrassed that the president went there with the cpi. that's the cost of living and adjusting. because with all of this debate if you take the poorest of the poor people, those that are living on social security and believe they should be the target, and knowing you're negotiating with someone that's trying to protect the top 2% of the people, it's kind of hard for just rational people to go along with that. and of course under no circumstances can a lot of people understand $250,000. the president kicked it up to
$400,000. and boehner said go to the devil, it should be a million dollars. and so we hope at some point the president's going to realize that he's not dealing with people that are sincerely dealing with him and get back to what he campaigned for. >> well, are the republicans at all concerned that the nation must look on them protecting the interests of the super wealthy and those with deep pockets and big spending, protecting them at all costs, especially at the risk of hurting the working poor and the middle class? are they not ashamed? or do they not fear the perception that they're really for the rich and not for the average working person out here? >> you know, when they said they wanted to get rid of obama at any cost before the election, i thought it was just campaign rhetoric. but when the debt ceiling came and they said they were prepared to allow the fiscal integrity of the united states of america to go down the tube, that was a
game of chicken i've never heard of in all of my years in politics. how much could they hate the man or hate his politics or be so insensitive to the poor? that they would tell the entire world that the united states is not prepared to pay its obligations. and that taught me a lesson which we're learning now. how far are they willing to go to you hurt the united states of america? and when is it not going to be party politics but what is good for our country? >> well, let's listen to senator mcconnell. more of what he has to say. because his words haven't provided much comfort to those who feel that the senate should be serious in its obligation to the american people. let's take a listen. >> as i indicated, the president called me and probably called others last night. my impression is he would like to see if we can move forward. we don't have very many days left. and i've indicated i'm willing to enter into a discussion, see what the president may have in mind.
>> now, mcconnell said, look, the president should have been talking like this months ago. well, you were trying to unseat him. that was your major obligation. you told us that. now that you're back on board here, does this sound like something sincere? or is this more posturing, do you think? >> only his campaign manager knows for sure. you know, he has -- he has a serious threat as relates to his re-election ability, and bowyer has a serious problem when it comes to being re-elected speaker. as a politician you start dealing with re-election you're dealing with some very serious emotional problems. and i just hope that as we go ho home, we've been home for the holidays, we listen to the religious leaders, the people that are really dependent on social security and health care, if we listen to the people who put us in office and those who supported the president, we should be rational in coming back to the table and trying to hold on to this much credibility if we have any left at all and get this job done. >> there it is. rational and perhaps even
rational exuberance like the market. congressman charlie rangel, thank you so much, my friend. >> thank you, doctor. now let's turn to msnbc political analyst richard wolff, vice president and executive editor of msnbc.com. my friend, there's more movement today than we've seen in a while, but is this just the optics? are they really trying to save face literally or is there something substantive in the offing here? >> more movement than we've seen in a while isn't actually saying very much. we have seen so little here. don't get your hopes up. i am actually an optimist by nature. i don't want to make people feel bad as we go into the new year. this is a desperate situation. it really does look like we're going to have to cross this threshold, watch the markets tank, watch everyone get worried about going into another recession before people can feel, and really we're talking about republicans, before republicans can feel they can vote for increases in taxes. and that's what actually speaker boehner, to be fair, has put something on the table there, but he hasn't brought his party
along with him. republicans need to understand as a group that they need to support their own leaders before the country can be supportive because if they cannot support their own leaders what are you negotiating with? >> he's giving with one hand and taking back with another, to be sure, being snatched back at the behest of his own caucus, but not the broader interests of the country. so answer me this, richard wolffe, you're a smart guy. is this a true statement? each side, president obama and john boehner, may not want to go over the cliff but they have at least some interest in letting that happen because of possibilities it presents on the other side. do you think that's a fair assessment? and even if they don't want to do it, do you think some good can come from it? >> no, i don't think any good comes from it because frankly real people get hurt by this kind of thing. and do i think the president would like to go to the other side of this december? sno, i don't, actually. we've been here before and actually were here before with a more reasonable republican party that was at the very stasht of the first term.
four years ago almost to the day when the president came in with a stimulus act. the recovery act. at a time of huge economic global crisis. it was the first time it was a real wake-up call for the president and senior aides because every other time of national crisis, and remember, this was an international crisis, the country had come together. republicans had come in. and what did he get for it? he got three republican votes in the entire congress. he won't get three now for this kind of plan. so if republicans wouldn't step into that crisis at that point, why would they step into this crisis at this point? in fact, what we've seen is they're willing to make the crisis worse. we heard from secretary geithner talk about us bumping up against the debt ceiling again, tremendously damaging for the very markets republicans say they care about. i think they're going to have to hear from the markets to understand just how bad this is again. >> there were rumors that the president was going to offer a smaller deal but that was not true. but let's just say a smaller deal gets through, especially the senate.
will speaker boehner get it to the house floor even if he thinks it will only get a minority of republican support? because that's been his real concern here, as speaker of the house i don't want a minority of the majority to be represented here. >> he said that. that's still not going to be the case for him. but just to be an optimist fog a minute here, the one man who really holds the deal in his hand is mitch mcconnell. if mitch mcconnell comes one a deal and he says it's doable, then we have seen before in the last year or two, even with all of the misery of the last debt ceiling crisis, mitch mcconnell can get things done not just in the senate but he can present it as a fait accompli to the house. he could do something if he wants to. as you just heard from congressman rangel, though, he's got his own personal political changz. that doesn't bode well either. >> from the honorary chairman of the optimist club, richard wolffe, thank you so very much. remember to answer tonight's question at the bottom of the screen and share your thoughts on twitter @edshow and on facebook. i want to know what you think.
coming up, the city of los angeles buys back thousands of guns, but gun sales across the country are up. following the massacre at sandy hook elementary school. i'll talk with los angeles mayor antonio villaraigosa. stay tuned. you fell in love wi. she's everything to you. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or if you have any allergic reactions such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat,
schwarzkopf was a larger than life prebs during "operation desert storm." colin powell was chief of staff at the time. he released this statement earlier. "with the passing of general h. norman schwarzkopf america lost a great patriot and a great soldier. norm served his country with courage and distinction for over 35 years. he was a good friend of mine, a close buddy. i will miss him." president george h.w. bush, who is intense hive care at a houst
hospital, schwarzkopf epitomized -- as american cities try to get guns off the streets pro-gun groups are trying to put them in the hands of teachers. we'll join that debate ahead. er. both of us actually. our pharmacist recommended it. and that makes me feel pretty good about it. and then i heard about a study looking at multivitamins and the long term health benefits. and what do you know? they used centrum silver in the study. makes me feel even better, that's what i take. sorry, we take. [ male announcer ] centrum. the most recommended. most preferred. most studied. centrum, always your most complete. so we created the extraordinarily comfortable sleep number experience. a collection of innovations designed around a bed with dualair technology that allows you to adjust to the support your body needs - each of your bodies.
our sleep professionals will help you find your sleep number setting. exclusively at a sleep number store. comfort individualized. save 50% on the final closeout of our silver limited edition bed plus special financing through new years day. what does somebody need this for? the answer is there's no reason they need this except they want to kill. >> that was los angeles mayor antonio villaraigosa talking about one of the weapons acquired at his city's gun buyback program. los angeles just wrapped up its
most successful gun buyback event to date. over 2,000 firearms were turned in. including 75 assault weapons. the program started in 2009, and guns are turned over in exchange for supermarket gift cards. the event is usually held in may, but the city moved the event up in response to the mass shooting at sandy hook elementary in connecticut. and while los angeles has had success in getting guns off the streets, across the country gun sales are up. gun shop owners report that high-capacity magazines and assault rifles are flying off the shelves. why? >> i've seen a huge uptick in business. our a.r.s have been sold out because people are very concerned about them becoming banned. >> one nevada gun shop owner credits president obama with the boost in sales. "obama is the best gun salesman since bill clinton. every too many a liberal opens his mouth and says something stupid about guns, i sell a gazillion of them."
need further proof? one iowa reporter went inside a des moines gun shop. >> the most popular is the a.r.-15, one of the weapons used in the sandy hook shooting. >> two days before christmas i maybe have 30 of these. and i had ten in my safes. and now i have zero. >> i'm joined by los angeles mayor antonio villaraigosa. welcome to the show, mr. mayor. >> michael, thank you for having me on. happy holidays to you. >> the same to you, my friend. does the uptick in gun sales surprise you in any way? >> no. i think we've seen this happen before. you've heard one of the people interviewed saying that it happened in the 1990s, when bill clinton was talking about and trying to do something about gun violence and responsible gun laws. you see it happening again after sandy hook. after the two firefighters who were assassinated just the other day and two police officers who
were killed on christmas eve. the fact of the matter is these people buy these guns because they can, because it's so easy to buy assault weapons in the united states of america. and we've got to do something about that. yes, we've got to get people to get involved in the way they did here in l.a. with a gun buyback program. very successful program. would have been even more successful if we hadn't run out of money. there were people waiting in line for hours to give up these guns including assault weapons, a grenade launcher. you saw that automatic weapon with a silencer. these are weapons that don't really have any purpose except to kill and to kill a lot of people. it's not just gun buyback programs. assault weapons ban on a federal level. we need to eliminate the t.r. amendment, which makes it very, very difficult to have
background checks that work. it requires that we destroy background checks after 24 hours. >> right. >> it doesn't force the states to participate in the background check system. there are many things that we could do to really toughen our laws or make it tougher for people who buy guns legally and then sell them to people who can't buy guns. >> right. >> toughen the definitions of the mentally ill so people who are sick can't buy these guns. there are a lot of things we could do that don't violate the second amendment. >> well be, right. we don't want to violate the second amendment, but there's a lot of room between violating the second amendment and having sensible gun control policies. you moved your program up from may till now. of course in part in response to the recent travesties and tragedies we've seen. but tell us why you think your program was so successful. you mentioned if you had more money you could have bought more guns and therefore been more successful. but what made you successful to
begin with? was it the nature of the tragedy that collectively galvanized the consciousness of this nation? >> yes, michael, i think it was. and i'm hoping this isn't just another tragedy that starts a conversation, that gets aborted within a few days of the tragedy. i'm hoping that we are reaching a tipping point, that reasonable people are saying hold it, we can as i said support the notion that we have a second amendment and not allow guns that have no other purpose except to be on a military battlefield. we can do a lot more to strengthen our background checks, to do responsible things to toughen our gun laws in this country. i'm hoping that's the point that we're reaching. it was clear that people want to participate. they wanted to do something. they didn't want to wait on state legislatures or the congress. they wanted to do their part. in fact, something like 74% of
the people that participated says they just wanted to do this to make a difference. they just wanted to do something concrete. they wanted to act and not just talk. >> well, that's better than hand wringing. and turning in those guns of course is a first step. mayor antonio villaraigosa, thank you so much, my friend. >> thank you, michael. >> coming up, would you want your child's teacher to bring one of these to class? find out why one congressman thinks this weapon is the answer to mass shootings at school. and if we go over the fiscal cliff, the unemployed will take the biggest hit. reverend dr. frederick haines will tell us what falling off the cliff means for the less fortunate. [ male announcer ] it's that time of year again.
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the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. >> welcome back. it's been less than two weeks since the massacre at sandy hook elementary school. today shooting clubs in at least three states started training teachers to carry handguns. 200 people signed up for the teacher training in salt lake city. a gun club in ohio says it's swamped with training requests from teachers and administrators. arizona's even offering classes, too. the teachers unions are against the idea of arming faculty. but putting guns in schools is not new. in fact, 1/3 of all public schools had an armed staffer on campus during the 2009 school
year. the nra's answer to newtown is to simply arm more teachers. >> i wish to god she had had an m-4 in her office locked up so when she heard gunfire she pulls it out and she didn't have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands but she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids. >> this is the m-4 louie gohmert was just talking about. this is what he wants your child's teacher to carry around. he wants the principal to have this gun handy in the hallways. it's only been 13 days since the massacre at sandy hook elementary school. we've already started arming more teachers just like the nra wanted. >> we can't tolerate this anymore. these tragedies must end. and to end them we must change. >> what kind of change do we want? real change means arming teachers with more resources, not guns.
let's turn to route con niff, editor for progressive magazine. will arming teachers make our kids safer really? >> yeah, i mean, you've got to wonder, have we lost our minds? you know, i understand why individual teachers, just like individuals anywhere who feel threatened might personally seek the solution that they want to get some training with a gun, they're worried about their personal safety. but this is not a public policy solution. this is not a systematic solution. and you know, as a mother of two little girls in elementary school and one in middle school, you know, how can we as parents, as a society say that we want to send our kids out to buildings that are bristling with more weapons? it's just nuts. and for the teachers themselves, small wonder that the a.f.t., the largest teachers union in the country, is opposed to this. teachers don't go to school and learn how to educate little children so they can become sharpshooters. and they don't want to go to a workplace where they're in danger of being mowed down. we need to do something to actually protect schools from
being shootout zones. and this proposal is just not serious. and it's too bad because i remember actually, professor dyson, when you yourself said let's give the nra a chance because this was this terrible shocked silence after this tragedy, where the whole country was grief-stricken and thinking what's the plan? what are we going to do? because we can't live this way. and so they come back and this is the plan? this is ridiculous. >> yeah, more than ridiculous, to be sure. so a teacher in oregon made an interesting point in support of arming faculty. here's what she said about getting a gun. >> i don't think guns in a school system will ever be very palatable. i also think that we need to give teachers an opportunity to buy some time. whether that's with, you know, district-issued pepper spray, maybe a taser, something that's not necessarily lethal that buys us some time to protect our students. >> now, i can see the consequences to that. all kinds of misuses and misapplications of what is in the teacher's hand that can have
deleterious consequence for our children. but i don't want to speak for you. what's your reaction to what she said? >> i think we have to ask ourselves, what's our aspiration? you know, we can imagine these bloody scenarios, and what if? what if there's a gun? and of course there's a lot of research to show that being armed does not in fact make you safer. that you're three times as likely to be a homicide victim if you have a gun in your house. the nra has its own statistics. there's a whole argument about that. but i think fundamentally, philosophically, we have to ask ourselves, are you kidding? kids who go to a school like the sandy hook elementary school, little 6-year-old children in the classroom. we're thinking about this bloody scenario where we want teachers to be prepared to murder somebody, to blow somebody's head off as the congressman put it? i mean, this is not how we want to live. and it doesn't have to be like this. it is just not acceptable. and that's what i think -- that was the moral question to the nra. is this just the cost of doing business to you? are you willing to accept that
we live in this kind of society where these kinds of horrific tragedies happen? and i think the whole nation stopped and waited to hear the response. and i think the answer is very disappointing because we can do better than this. you know, there are many countries. 23 of the richest industrial countries on earth except for us have 1/20 of our death rate from guns. this can be done. it's not that it can't be done. we can ban assault weapons, as senator feinstein is proposing, including the re weapon that was used in sandy hook, legally bought by the perpetrator's mother. that could have been banned. the large magazine rounds where you can fire off multiple rounds, that should have been done. background checks, 40% of guns are bought by people who don't have to go -- that's on the secondary market, they can avoid a background check. this is not necessary. we can do something like this. >> eloquently stated. ruth conniff, thank you very much. there's a lot more coming up in the next half hour on "the ed show." stay tuned. >> i have opinions. >> she's got a few. >> michelle obama entering
politics? she answers the big question, ahead. plus, reverend dr. freddie haines on the millions of americans who stand to suffer when we go over the fiscal cliff. and when it comes to "django chained," i'm with sarah silverman. >> i think you can't really tell art what to do. >> dr. james peterson joins me tonight to talk about the movie spike lee is calling disrespectful. copd makes it hard to breathe,
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you didn't have to come over! actually, honey, i think i did... oh? you did? whoa, ladies, easy. hi. cascade kitchen counselor. we can help avoid this with cascade complete pacs. see, over time, cascade complete pacs fight film buildup two times better than finish quantum. to help leave glasses sparkling shiny! too bad it doesn't work on windows. okay, i'm outta here. cascade. the clear choice. welcome back. most of the focus on the fiscal cliff debate has been on the issue of tax increases for the wealthiest americans. but the matter of -- the fact of the matter is unemployed americans will be the ones hardest hit come january 1st if congress fails to act. the great senator bernie sanders of vermont is calling for action. >> we must not fail the unemployed workers of this country now.
if congress does not act, it will mean that some 2 million people and their families will really be at a loss as to how to survive economically. >> if an unemployment extension is not included in the fiscal cliff deal, 2.1 million americans will face an immediate loss in federal unemployment insurance. it will result in a cut of $284 a week for the average beneficiary. and that's a lot of dough for the average american. it's important to keep in mind the unemployment cliff is really a cliff, urban a slope. tax increases and other spending cuts will fall into place over time. but not with unemployment insurance. unemployment americans who rely on federal aid will be cut off on january 1st, 2013. however, there is some good news on the unemployment front. the four-week average of job claims dropped to roughly 356,000. it's the lowest level since march 2008.
but unfortunately, the national unemployment rate is still 7.7%. and if republicans in congress fail to accuracy millions of unemployed americans will be off to a very rough start for the new year. for more on this let's turn to the reverend dr. haines iii, senior pastor at friendship west baptist church. dr. haines, welcome to the show. >> thank you, professor dyson. >> isn't it ironic, dr. haines, through this entire debate the focus has been on the wealthiest americans paying more taxes, not people who will lose unemployment benefits come january 1st? you're the pastor of a huge church in dallas that talks about poverty and social injustice. what's your reaction to this? >> well, not only is it ironic. i think it's almost sinful, especially during this season where we have just celebrated the birth of one who was born homeless. i think that unfortunately if the wise men had been replaced by the speaker of the house as well as the senate minority leader, instead of he bearing
gifts they would have taken away from him unemployment benefits. so i find it painfully sinful that this is both immoral, because when we talk about any faith expression that faith expression is always concerned about those who are most vulnerable. and please understand, we're not talking about persons who are going over the cliff. they are already -- they've already gone over the cliff. and,000 they find themselves victimized by the jagged rocks of unemployment and impoveri impoverishme impoverishment. and in a nation like this it is to our everlasting shame that we have spent so much time trying to protect those who are richest that we have forgotten about those who are going to be most impacted by this fiscal cliff. >> well, speaking of that, after that eloquent and powerful insight, the current african-american unemployment rate is currently sitting at something like 14.1%. if we go over that cliff, and you say there are many who are already there, and these cuts
kick in, will they have a disproportionate impact on black americans, who are already suffering, as you've indicated? >> no question. and pastoring the church that i do, and serving in the community where i serve, i cannot tell you how sad it has been, heartbreaking i should say, to watch the numbers of persons coming to our churches who are seeking help now because they have no place else to turn. and i can't even imagine what's going to take place after the 1st of january if we allow this crisis to become magnified because we're so determined not only to protect those who live in gated -- not gated communities but gated homes but at the same time we want to just throw over the cliff an economy that has already had an uneven recovery. and so when you look at that uneven recovery and how it has negatively impacted the african-american community, again, i cannot help but say and plead in the name of those individuals who are suffering and struggling, let's do
something significant because it is our moral obligation. the soul of america is at stake here if we don't do something for those who are most vulnerable and yes, i dare say especially african-americans and minority communities. >> well, let's tick it off here. if we go over the cliff, the american opportunity tax credit will expire. this credit provides relief for college students as you know. >> right. >> if you look at the numbers, 70% of black students rely on financial aid for college. what impact will this law have on those particular members of the black community? because you know we go from the gated to the ghetto. we have a lot of different minorities there. but tell us what impact it will have on the most vulnerable in the black communities? >> it's not hyperbole to suggest it literally kills hope in the hood because individuals who, begin, desire to go to college, what are they going to do now because of the cliff that we go over? they will find themselves unable to continue their education. those who are already struggling
with unemployment and underemployment will find themselves victimized even further. it's almost as if you're saying to those who are on the jagged rocks of unemployment, the jagged rocks ever limited opportunity, what we are going to do is ensure now that we just i guess take it as they did in the old road runner cartoon, where they had a boulder to go over the cliff. you're already over the cliff, but now a boulder comes over to ensure that you're smashed. and again, i'm not engaging in hyperbole. i'm asking this nation to check its conscience, to check its soul because we are not just talking about doing something that will hurt those who are wealthy. we're talking about the rest of us sacrificing for the rest of us. and again, we're talking about those who suffer in minority and african-american communities, those who all too often have been ignored or have been used as political pinatas. >> all right. you see why he has over 20,000 members there at friendship west baptist church.
the reverend dr. frederick haynes. thank you so much, my friend. >> thank you. with an approval rating in the 70s, is there anything michelle obama can't do? barbara walters asked the first lady if she'd consider running for public office. we'll bring you her answer, next. [ male announcer ] with over 50 delicious choices of green giant vegetables
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she's got a sky-high approval rating, but first lady michelle obama says she's not interested in running for political office. at least that's what she told barbara walters. >> you said you that don't have the patience for political life. patience for what? >> i have learned from my husband, watching him, that it does require a great deal of patience to really feel the full impact of the work you do on the ground. it doesn't happen right away. >> and she has a bigger difficulty biting her tongue. >> i think i've done pretty well at that. >> but despite her reluctance there are some who say she would make a great lawmaker. congressman jim clyburn believes mrs. obama would be a breath of fresh air in d.c. she's honest and straightforward. "she's exactly what we need around here."
and recent polling shows mrs. obama beating senator mark kirk of illinois by double digits in a hypothetical match-up. her husband's adviser david axelrod is warning michelle obama fans not to get their hopes up. >> i don't think michelle has any desire to be a politician. she'll find ways to make contributions, i'm sure. but the last thing i think she would do is run for public office. >> of course there are a number of ways for the first lady to make her mark after her husband finishes his second term. as samuel l. jackson tells "newsweek," michelle is superwoman. "what can't she do?" i agree with that. run, michelle, run. tonight in our survey i asked you, is john boehner's move to reconvene the house a face-saving political move or a genuine effort to reach a deal? 97% say political move. 3% say genuine effort. coming up, dr. james peterson joins me to discuss "django unchained."
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welcome back. last night i discussed the controversy surrounding quentin tarantino's latest film "django unchained." the film has been criticized for its frequent use of the n word, its graphic violence, and its depiction of american slavery. director spike lee, who has been critical of tarantino's use of racial slurs in the past, says he won't even see it. >> the only thing i'm going to say it is it would be
disrespectful to my ancestors to see that film. and that's the only thing i'm going to say. i can't disrespect my ancestors. >> lee went on to say american slavery was not a sergio leone spaghetti western. it was a holocaust. my ancestors are slaves. stolen from africa. i will honor them." as promised, i saw the film today. and i must tell you that it was a fascinating study of slavery and the extraordinary capacity of an exceptional individual to embody the best traits and the aspirations of the group. there are problems with that exceptionalism to be sure, but i would ask my very dear friend spike lee, see the film first before making criticism because people have dismissed my books without reading them. if my book you do not read please don't attempt to make me bleed. i hate to come up with that grating jingoism but i have to do that. i'm joined by dr. james peterson, director of africana studies and associate professor of english at lehigh university. professor peterson, you saw this film as well.
give us your sis kehl & ebert -- we know they're dead, sis kehl is dead, but we respect them. >> of course. >> give us your analysis of that film. >> well, i think it's a powerful film. i think it will go down in history as maybe even a classic film. i think it has its limitations and certain folk have pointed that out. i think the women characters in there are pretty flat. although i don't think it's sort of a tight slave history, there are certain things historically that are really, really powerful. a lot of the props are really, really powerful. i don't want to -- spoiler alert here, but all of the sort of the chains and the masks and the different ways in which through the props they demonstrate the brutality of slavery are fairly accurate and important. and to be honest with you, it is powerful to see a black man win in that kind of narrative. and i hate to reduce it to that, but he wins. you know, he keeps his dignity. he saves the love of his life. and he's also able to escape essentially scot-free. he's one of the first superheroes constructed on film in the sort of genre of slave narratives. listen, this is less of a slave
narrative and more of a liberation narrative. part romance, part comedy. so there's different pieces to it that we can talk about but i don't understand the dismissal of the film without seeing it. >> let me make it even more controversial. i'm a fan of rap. you're a fan of hip-hop. we're both scholars of it. i see a bunch of guys in hip-hop dissing their women calling them the h word, b word, skissers, sluts and so on. there's nothing like that in this film. this guy risks his entire life for his woman. so first of all, take notice there. and secondly, you said liberation film. he risks everything for her. yes, the women characters are not as fleshed out as they can be, but doesn't that say something redemptive about the quest of black masculinity to find a partner there? >> it's definitely a more male-centered film than anything else. but yes, it does say some important things about that. again, at the end of the day you have to see the film in order to critique it and engage it. there's important little pieces of history there. the brutality to me, if you understand the kind of film that tarantino makes, is not gratuitous. one of the more brutal scenes
which is the battle royal scenes between the two slaves who are fighting is a difficult scene to watch but speaks of an important part of not just slave history but american history. where black men are pitted against each other for white audiences to watch them compete. there are different significant things in the film that are worth us talking about. and the conversation at the end of the day is what's most important. >> in an interview with henry louis gates jr. for the root quentin tarantino responded to spike lee's criticism of his use of the n word and the depiction of slavery in this film. here's what tarantino said. >> first thing, i find it ridiculous because it would be one thing if people were out there saying, well, look, you use it much more excessively in this movie than it was used in 1858 in mississippi. well, nobody's saying that. >> right. >> so if you're not saying that, you're simply saying i should be lying. i should be watering it down. i should be making it more easy to digest. no, i don't want it to be easy to digest. i want it to be a big,